Ladakh protests for schedule 6 & statehood EXPLAINED | Sonam Wangchuk | Vikas Divyakirti | LT Films
(sacred chanting) By the end of the century, 2/3rd of the glaciers would have melted. The sensitive climate of Ladakh and Himalaya need to be protected and conserved. The appropriate safeguard will be granted to Ladakh. (struggling in sub zero temperature) Sonam Wangchuk has been on a climate fast for 5 days (greetings) he has a few demands.
some people are doing climate fast drama I’m under house arrest there is a car in front of us, some security personnel have come out from it we want 6 schedule 6 schedule is beneficial because we will be responsible for the management of our land, job and environment. But I feel the demand for 6 schedule is not valid presently. We want 6 schedule. Ladakh has 95% tribal population 2010 we had to leave this place and go as the water here had dried up. the water from the glacier that doesn’t reach village in the summer so an artificial glacier is developed.
Without using any machine, we operate a sprinkler. We hope that this will ease out the water scarcity issue we are facing. There is no water to drink or to cook. in my childhood time we had goats, cows, oxen but now there is no fodder for them to graze on, our fields are barren and we have nothing to feed the cattle.
This used to be a river with sufficient water flowing to the village for their farming, cattle and daily needs. In 2010 we ran out of water then we had to leave this village and go. For most of the year is no water. There is water in July-August but that is of no use to us. We cannot do farming then as the crops will not ripen.
It gets very cold here and the season ends in 4-5 months. So, half way through the crops freeze. Then the seeds we have sown are a loss for us too. That is why we had to leave from here. We used to grow peas, wheat, potatoes and even mustard.
While growing up none of us ever did manual labor elsewhere. We always grew our own food here and it was sufficient for everybody. But now we don’t have anything left. We are helpless. Our people are also uneducated. Schools were so far way and we did not have vehicles, so we were never able to attend school.
We are illiterate and have no knowledge what to ask from the government. Half of this is in ruins. We used to sit in the sun here.
This was my home, I was born here. Will you ever return here? None of us like to leave all this behind and go. We cried so much while leaving our village. News anchor - the glaciers in the Himalayas are melting, the mouth of the river is drying up, and Delhi has the most polluted air. (News anchors talk about climate change, global warming and rising sea levels) Tomorrow when there are no glaciers the river basins in India will also all dry up.
(climate activists protesting) Peaceful climate fast to save Ladakh. It's peak winter now and there is barely any snow here. By the end of the century, 2/3rd of the glaciers would have melted. Our glaciers are not just melting due to global warming.
Sure that is a reason but it is not the only reason. For global warming we can blame London and New York too. But what about the human activities here? From 1974 Ladakh has been a tourist destination.
Initially there were few domestic tourists and more of foreign tourists. It was known for adventure tourism like trekking and mountaineering. Slowly and gradually more domestic tourists started coming. Post the release of the film '3 Idiots' this exploded.
Where there were 20,000 tourists in 2010, today it is 6 lakhs. These 6 lakh tourists are concentrated in a span of 5 months. and that too in an area of 5-6km in Leh. 2000 million people are dependent on the Himalayan glaciers. That is 1/4th of the world population and approximately half of India’s population.
The people here know how to survive on 5 litres a day. In other places people use 250-500 litres per day per person. The glaciers closest to the highways are the ones melting the fastest. When the diesel of the taxis are affecting it this much, than the glaciers will lead to an end if mining also starts here.
And these glaciers wont end for Ladakh only! Now a days these are melting but even in the past it was not in good numbers. There is only 4 inch rainfall throughout the year which is hardly anything. Our ancestors too used to depend on the glaciers. Our ancestors used to make man-made glaciers. There is an old and famous engineer from Ladakh, Chewang Norphel, he used scientific methods to create glaciers. These artificial glaciers are spread out and hence horizontal.
These glaciers melt first in the heat of the sun even when they are not needed. Therefore these need to be constructed in the shade, behind mountains or at a height where they don’t melt easily. This is not possible everywhere.
This is why we applied geometry and physics in our school and made an artificial glacier that can be made anywhere. Without using any machine, we operate a sprinkler. You must have heard, this is called ice stupa. Our aim to come here is to see this ice stupa. Our car could only come till here, beyond this we need to trek for one and a half hour. *slipping and struggling on ice* The locals say this ice we are walking on is actually a river.
And we are walking on that riveronly. It has frozen due to the cold. If we go any further it can give way.
*feels the need to answer nature’s call in this cold* *calls out to the others* Don't know where is he! Atleast revert back to my call! Come brother come. Here the snow isn’t bound together; it has a lot of separate particles. But in Kashmir the case is different.
This happens because of the lack of oxygen and moisture. *sees ice stupa in the distance and feels hopeful* The white structure right in the centre is the ice stupa. The ice stupa seemed so near from there but it's still so far! Almost reached. This conical shape is such that the surface area repels the heat of the sun. This slows down the melting. Also cones and spheres are structures that have less surface area but more volume.
Built on this formula, these structures do not melt until summers. Without using electricity if we can freeze these in winters till they gradually melt and provide water till June-July. We start in a valley and check the spring for water.
The spring is half a kilometer up. We transport the water down using a pipe. We use HDP pipes here.
We don’t use iron pipes as they can’t withstand the cold. We then build a dome structure on the site which is also called a control room. There is a tunnel through which the pipe goes. Then we set up a tripod for it to hold the GI pipe vertically. Atop this we set up the fountain or sprinkler. There is a pressure difference, which means water always maintains it's level.
To maintain it, pipe has a high pressure. It sprinkles water in -20 degrees temperature which starts to freeze and takes a conical shape. For the very first time this stupa is being made in this village.
This is entirely a youth initiative and a very good project. We hope this eases out the problem of water scarcity in the village. Earlier there used to be a lot of snow here, at least 1-2 feet. On the mountains it must be around 4-5 feet. The amount of glaciers used to very high and very big. Today it is hardly there.
This stupa is now 60-65ft. The pipe on top has fallen short so now they are connecting another pipe to extend the water shower in order to increase the size of the stupa. This job is a little tough. We leave our homes at 8 in the morning and try and stay back here to monitor this. How do you get to know the water has got frozen in the night? That is why we have set up tents. We stay here for such odd hours. Inside the tents they have tried to keep it warm.
My friends have gone to fetch water so we can make hot tea. There is an arrangement of gas here. Now there is an additional shift too.
Earlier they would work from 8am-4pm but with the onset on winters they stay back here through the night to monitor the water flow and ensure the sprinkler doesn’t freeze on top. Our respected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, greetings to you from the ice laden mountains of Ladakh. The people of Ladakh are confused as to how the government who granted their 70 year old wish of a Union Territory and assured them protection turns away from their word? This causes the people of Ladakh to lose faith in the government (Activist raising slogans) Ladakh has always felt that they have been treated unfairly in comparison to Jammu and Kashmir. They had demanded to be made a UT.
Keeping that demand in mind in 1995 there was a provision made to make a Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council. Under this both the regions have 30 members each. Out of these 30, 26 are elected and 4 are appointed by the state government. This council decides the progress and development of the region.
There is a council like this in Leh and Kargil too. There is health, PWD, rural, all these departments come under the control of the council. News anchor - What seemed impossible has been done by the Modi Government. Article 370 is now a part of history. TV Reporter - Today there is only the Indian flag flying high here.
There is an environment of celebration here. Our Ladakh is now a UT, it feels good for the times to come. In 2019 on 5th August our dream came true. We were too shocked to believe it. "Modi means possibilities."
When article 370 ended Jammu Kashmir became a UT with legislature. Ladakh was a UT without legislature In the beginning our people were happy because our long standing demand had been met. But our demand was for a UT with legislature. Like in Pondicherry, they are a UT and have their own assembly, chief minister, ministers, MLAs are elected.
These elected representatives are responsible for the development and take care of the process. Pre 2019 we were also linked to a movement asking for a UT. There was no discussion on any platform that what kind of UT status we were asking for. There were agitations.People were holding banners asking for UT with legislature. He is saying so because he belongs to the ruling party and under pressure. When they were asking for UT with legislature it had some meaning.
Unlike Jammu and Kashmir who had article 370 removed how will we be protected? Because now every businessman or person can come and take land and set up businesses. They were aware that there is a provision called 6th schedule in the constitution of India. Ladakh fits accurately in this provision. We demand 6th schedule. (Sixth schedule echoed) When the constitution of India was being written there was a major question of how to integrate the tribal areas with the rest of the country specifically the north eastern region as there is extremely diverse tribal population present there.
Secondly they did not feel connected to the rest of the country even though some people from there were a part of the freedom struggle. The broad decision was that the Assam tribal belt would have a different provision and the rest of the country’s tribal belt would have a different provision. There is a part 10 in the Indian constitution.
It has only one article – article 244. This article has two parts 244 (1) and 244 (2). 244 (1) applied to the whole country except Assam. This is called the 5th schedule. 244 (2) had provisions only for Assam and that is called schedule 6.
Then Assam was split into parts so in the constitution of India now there is Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura. The large tribal areas here will be made into autonomous districts. And if the size is smaller, it would be made into a tribal region. While a tribal district is a part of the state, the state will grant some legislative, executive, judicial powers to the council so they can run their administration.
Autonomous councils have a lot of power and rights. They can take care of their region’s management, employment, whether it is forests or mountains – no one can enter without the permission of the council. There are many such provisions that empower the local people to run their area on their own.
The reason to dislike 371 was because Ladakh wasn’t getting UT status because of that. But at least we had the protection that the people of Ladakh could take care of the management of Ladakh. It won’t be open for all. Now some people of Ladakh feel that the industrialists who come from outside may harass them.
There may also have to bear cultural attacks as they are tribals. But I feel the demand for 6 schedule is not required at the moment. Republic day celebrations I’m currently under house arrest.
Actually worse than house arrest. News anchors reporting on the Sonam Wangchuk climate fast Good morning world Greetings The goal of this climate fast is for the sensitive climate of Ladakh and Himalaya to be protected and conserved. Especially for us, the people of Ladakh who after receiving UT status do not have the protection we had during section 370.
Now anyone can come here and set up businesses and do mining. This is an important point that we must protect the environment. We have seen the case of Joshimath(Uttarakhand) recently. So we need to be careful. Our glaciers are receding & whole villages are migrating.
These glaciers won’t end for just Ladakh. Half of India’s population is dependent on this. The environment I have been working for since the last 30 years, if it is spoilt in a moment, that is very worrisome. some people are doing climate fast drama and trying to escalate the issues. 6 schedule is beneficial as our land, job, environment will all be managed by us.
If we are granted 6 schedule, all decisions will be made after consulting with the people. Reporter - Why have you come here? We have come here to support Mr. Wangchuk. What kind of support? 6th schedule What is he protesting for? Job, climate, glacier We do not have any political motives. This is for our environment, culture and identity.
The question is Ladakh autonomous hill development council has 30 members of which 26 are elected representatives. These 26 are elected from the various regions only. But hill council has no rights that a lieutenant governor can’t overrule or change with a sign. The hill council rights are being diluted where anyone can take over the land.
There have been no major changes in the council setup. 95% of Ladakh is tribal population, to qualify for schedule 6 we need 50% It is true that almost 97% of the population is tribal but it is also true that most of them are Buddhist or Muslim. They are not that disconnected from the rest of the society. There are a total of 10 districts under 6 schedule right now who have been granted these powers. One in Tripura and 3 in the other 3.
The problem with these 10 districts is that they want to be away from outsiders. They do not wish to be connected in any way. Mass tourism is causing a lot of loss to Ladakh. It isn’t that tourism is bad, it needs to be managed better. Instead of 5 months do all 12 months. Instead of just limiting it to Leh city, have it across all of Ladakh.
Ladakh is a tourist destination. The economy is largely dependent on tourism so they are not disconnected from society. Their demands are like that of the Assam tribals and that is not valid.
Initially our MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal brought us news from Delhi that central government was willing to grant us 6 schedule status. After gaining UT status, law ministry, home ministry, ministry of tribal affairs had all recommended but nothing came of it. We had never mentioned that this was absolute protection. We had said this is to be discussed.
When the council elections happened in 2020, when it was important for these people to win, our leaders said they would boycott these elections. The consequence of this was that the home ministry called us three to Delhi and we presented our demands before them. Amit Shah seemed very positive and he requested us to call off the boycott. When the Home Minister had called us, I was present there as well.
All our stakeholders were present and I swear on God, no one demanded 6 schedule before the home minister. Please ask them how did they make 6 schedule the first point in the manifesto? No discussion can begin with pre conditions. Anyone else would say this I would understand it, but for those who won on this basis, for them to say this is unacceptable. (Protestors raising slogans for schedule 6) There is no democracy left here. First there were 4 MLAs, 2 MLCs, now there is nothing. I feel if the new panchayti raj system is implemented in Ladakh and let the election happen, that will be a correct representation of the people.
Secondly both the councils are already having elections. When we were a part of Jammu & Kashmir, we had a capital budget of 50-60 crore. After gaining UT status the budget allocated in the council for the district is 300 crores.
UT has a budget of 6000 crores but the elected representatives barely get 500 crores. The UTs that don’t have Vidhan Sabha, usually have such complaints There is no way for the people to participate The work that needs to be done by the Vidhan Sabha is done by the bureaucrats. 2/3rds of these bureaucrats come from outside. They also wield more power and this can irk the local people. (Protest's ambience) (We want 6 schedule) On a national level they say that they have done a lot. The ground reality is to date no one has even been recruited properly.
They have not even framed the recruitment policy. I had addressed the governor sir and said that if you leave the 12,000 youth unemployed, jail them for every small reason, and file Firs against them you will alienate them and sow the seeds of militancy. These are the people who threaten the national security and try to endanger it. We had thought the UT status would be better than Jammu Kashmir If any state is under governor rule for ten days or two months it is so difficult.
Ladakh is permanently under the governor’s rule. In 3 lakh population there are 2 districts. If we take 1.5 lakh per district, 26 people are being elected from each district. So amidst a population of 3 lakh, 52 elected representatives is definitely a sign of public participation.
Is this a punishment for the patriotic Ladakh that only one power will run the whole district? Maybe there are commercial interests that do not wish to see Ladakh protected. This is a symbolic climate fast. If our asks are not met, the next fast will be for 10 days, after that 15 days, then 20 days. Honourable home minister has repeatedly said that we need to strengthen Ladakh. Whatever appropriate safeguard is required will be granted. Recently a high empowered committee has been established too.
We will intensify our agitation in 2023 and 2024. Only 1.5 lakh voters make up the Ladakh Lok Sabha constituency. The total population is around 3 lakhs. They cannot demand statehood with that population.
The issue is that council has less power. That needs to be increased. The day panchayati raj is implemented correctly and every person has the faith that someone from their neighbourhood is a part of the municipality or panchayat and on the panchayati level is all executed correctly, the dissent will decrease drastically. The government should quickly implement the Panchayat raj system that was made in 1992 as part of the 73rd amendment and hold elections without any delay. If we get water and support from the government we are happy to stay here.
Otherwise what can we do? We will have to leave as there is nothing to eat, no water to drink, no school for our children. In the mountains there is a rule, whatever seems near is never actually close. English subtitles: Zeishah Amlani